dollsome: (gg ♦ paris + rory)
[personal profile] dollsome
Title: The Best of It
Pairing: Rory/Paris, ft. the Stars Hollow ensemble
Chapter: 12 (Previous chapters here)
Word Count: 2,900

Part 12: The Not-So-Calm Before The Storm

LOCATION: The Dragonfly Inn Restaurant, Breakfast Time

Rory, Paris, it is so good of you to take some time out of your busy schedule to have breakfast with little old us.

Yeah! You didn’t have to get up this early! We know how hectic things have been for you.

PARIS [strangely flat]
Are you kidding? I would have gotten up at 3 A.M. happily if it meant hanging out with a couple of boss bitches like you.

Totally. I wish we could be around you two all the time so you could give us pointers on how to stay as young and hot as you are while still balancing a sweet career and a totes adorbs family.

Yeah, Louise. How do you keep your eyebrows so on fleek?

THE CONVERSATION goes on for much longer, but its inanities are not worth transcribing. This isn’t The E Network.


Today, coffee is Rory Gilmore’s best friend like it never has been before. And that’s saying something.

It’s probably for the best that her brain has turned into a fuzzy caffeinated wasteland. Breakfast with Madeline and Louise at The Dragonfly flies by in a dreamy haze. Rory says the lines that were written out for her. That is, when she’s not drinking desperate swigs of coffee. She burns her tongue, but it seems like a small price to pay for sweet, sweet caffeinated oblivion.

Paris holds Rory’s hand firmly throughout the entire breakfast, their entwined hands resting on the table, and doesn’t look at her once.

Filming wraps up when Michel comes over with Channing, looking surprisingly cheerful considering he’s just spent time with a child. Madeline and Louise really must be the sources of fabulousness he’s been searching for in life if he’s willing to sacrifice so much. Unsurprisingly, Nigel is unable to resist the lure of Michel and adorable children. (Not to mention that he’d been nodding off to sleep while witnessing Madeline and Louise’s Boss Bitch Breakfast.)

“Is it just me, or did he not like us?” Louise asks, glaring at Nigel’s back as he wanders off with his new buddies. Michel throws a yearning glance backward at their table, but doesn’t seem willing to abandon his $200 an hour babysitting gig just yet.

“We’re great,” Madeline says consolingly, patting Louise’s arm. “And the greats are always misunderstood.”

Paris doesn’t audibly scoff at that. The absence of scoff is downright chilling.

“I need coffee,” she says instead, getting up. Without wasting an instant, she bolts toward the kitchen.

“You stole my line,” Rory calls after her, trying to sound chipper.

Trying and failing.

Rory watches her go, caught between feelings of My heart hurts and Typical Paris weirdness and There’s no way she can sabotage Jess and Alex’s relationship from the kitchen of the Dragonfly, right?

When you’re emotionally invested in Paris Geller, it’s a feelings rollercoaster 24/7.

“Hey.” Rory looks over to find Madeline standing beside her, her face crumpled in a frown. “I’m sorry if we messed things up between you guys. I swear, I just wasn’t even thinking about it. I thought you two were really—”

“I know,” Rory interrupts. “It’s—it’s okay.”

“She’s just going all ice queen because she can’t deal with how strong her Rory feels are. We’ve seen it, what, a billion times before?” Louise takes a queenly sip of her mimosa and declares, “Don’t worry about it. You guys will kiss and make up like you always do.”

“We’ve made up,” Rory says, blushing. “We’ve never kissed.”

“You’ve never kissed,” Louise repeats doubtfully, leveling Rory with a very on fleek eyebrow raise of skepticism.

“Well, not before recently,” Rory grumbles.

“And Spring Break ’04,” Madeline contributes.

Rory groans. “Why does everybody remember that??”

“It was super epic,” Madeline assures her.

Was it? All Rory has is a somewhat fuzzy memory of being extremely freaked out in a very loud club. There were exactly zero super epic oh-my-God-I’m-butt-crazy-in-love-with-Paris epiphanies. Most of what she remembers about her freshman year love life is being treated like an increasingly hopeless freak for being single. And, okay, freaking out a lot about Paris’s love life, but Paris had been dating the infirm! What was a bestie to do besides freak out?

She remembers how desperately she used to hope that Paris would come back to their bedroom one day and announce that she and Asher were done for good.  The whole thing was just so weird and gross and resulted in Rory spending a lot of time sitting alone in the room that was supposed to be for the both of them, worrying about what Paris was getting herself into. Part of the reason it had been so easy to fall back into things with Dean was how good it felt to feel special, to feel wanted, to be someone’s number one choice the way she used to be—

“Wow, okay, I can’t really get into every nuance of Paris’s and my relationship in the 2003-2004 academic year right now,” Rory interrupts her own crazy swirling abyss of a brain.

“We didn’t ask you to,” Louise says blandly.

“Because,” Rory babbles on, unstoppable, possessed by a rambly ghost, “there’s a very good chance that she’s going to break up the impending engagement of my high-school-ex-boyfriend-turned-just-friend so that I can have him—never mind that I don’t even want him—because apparently, that’s just what BFFs do!”

“Damn,” Louise says. “She’s dragged you into some next level Paris crazy.”

“Life really does get more complicated when you get older,” Madeline reflects sagely. “Remember when you guys were just really obsessed with the school newspaper?”

Louise wrinkles her nose. “God, what was that called? The Hamilton?”

“You know it was The Franklin!” Rory scolds. “This too-cool-to-remember-things facade isn’t as charming as you think it is.”

“Yes it is,” says Louise.

She’s kind of right. Damn it.

Rory sighs. “Well, will you guys see if you can talk her out of it? She won’t listen to me, and if she screws things up for Jess, I don’t know what I’ll do—”

“Say no more,” Madeline interrupts. “We’re on it.”

“On it like I’ll be on Channing Tatum if I ever get the chance,” Louise says. Well. Snarls, almost.

Rory cringes.

“What?” Louise demands.

“I just feel like ... you know, maybe you shouldn’t say stuff like that, considering your kid’s name and all,” Rory answers delicately.

“Please. Why do you think I named him that? Let me walk you through the scenario. I run into Channing Tatum. I’ve got Channing with me. Channing Tatum says, ‘Hi, I’m Channing Tatum.’”

“Does Channing Tatum really have to introduce himself to people?” Rory muses.

“—and I say, ‘Oh my God, no way! My son’s name is Channing.’ Boom. Instant connection. I’m in. It’s going down.”

“What does your husband think about that?” Rory asks tentatively.

“He thought it was genius. If Channing had been a girl, we would have named him Rihanna.”

Well okay then.

At least Louise isn’t plotting to steal Luke anymore. It’s not like her kid is named Luke.

At the same time, Rory’s pretty sure her fatigued brain is going to melt out of her ears if she has to listen to any more of this.

And so in an act of self preservation, she cries, “Paris could be ruining lives right now!”

“Right,” Louise says, snapping back into action. “We’re on it.”


Madeline and Louise come back five minutes later.

“Paris says don’t worry about it,” Louise reports. “She was just sleep deprived and overstressed. Obviously she’s not going to screw things up for your high school ex-boyfriend who she, and I quote, ‘knew for five minutes and cares about literally less than Frozen’.”

“And she really doesn’t care about Frozen,” Madeline says. “When I was like, ‘What? Everybody loves Frozen’, she said ... ‘fuck Elsa.’” Madeline whispers the last two words like they’re blasphemous to the highest degree possible.

“Oh. Well, okay then.” Rory smiles at them. “Thank you.”

“No problem,” says Madeline brightly. “Wait—where are you going?”

Rory finds Paris in the kitchen, chugging down coffee. The staff are all cowering in the corner. Sookie doesn’t seem bothered; she’s stirring away at the stove fearlessly.

Rory definitely remembers her mom telling tales of Sookie and Michel living in fear of Paris’s visits to the Dragonfly during the Rory’s Break From Yale era. Sookie’s probably just trying to keep a cheerful face on in case the cameras come in.

Or maybe she’s been picking up on Rory’s real Paris feelings and wants to show that she supports Rory in all her romantic decisions, no matter how objectively bonkers.

Aw. That would be kind of nice, under other circumstances. Paris-not-being-a-scheming-maniac circumstances.

“Hi Sookie,” Rory greets her.

“Hiya honey,” Sookie says cheerfully, and goes on stirring.

“How are you? How are Jackson and the kiddos?”

“Good, good, everyone’s good.”

“That’s so nice. I’m glad.” She gives Sookie one last smile, then whips around to face Paris.

“Okay,” she sneers, “what’s up your sleeve, Littlefinger?”

“What do you mean?” Paris asks blithely.

“Madeline and Louise might buy your story, but I’m not falling for it. You’re just trying to get me off my guard so that you can keep on scheming. Well, it’s not gonna work!”

Paris gives her a Look. “You do realize how crazy you sound right now, don’t you?”

“You stole my line,” Rory accuses.

“Get a grip, Gilmore. I’m over it. That was sleep deprivation talking. Not to mention the fact that I’ve completely lost my Madeline-and-Louise tolerance over the years. Is it just me, or are they way more the worst than they used to be?”

“They’re about the same level of the worst,” Rory appraises. “But now they’re the worst with a private jet.”

“God, I can’t believe they made up one hundred percent of my friend group for the first fifteen years I was alive. It’s a miracle I’m not spending my life in a straitjacket, or having opinions about the Kardashians’ life choices.”

“I guess it’s a good thing I showed up when I did to keep you nerdy and proud.”

“Yeah, thanks for that,” Paris says, staring down into her coffee cup.

Paris was pining for you hardcore from the second you showed up at Chilton.

Before Rory can start to decipher the look on Paris’s face (or, alternately, spiral into a total mental meltdown), Paris gives Rory the ol’ scrutinizing stare. “So, what did you come in here for?”

“Seriously?” Rory crosses her arms. If Paris is going to be all back-to-business, then so is she. “To tell you that you need to abandon this thwart-Jess’s-proposal idea.”

“You mean the idea that I already abandoned? And by the way, calling it an idea is a little much. It was more like a momentary flicker in my Madeline-and-Louise-diseased brain. I’m not proud of it, Rory, but even I can’t be brilliant all the time.”

She looks so disgusted that Rory is dangerously tempted to believe her.

The key word being ‘dangerously.’

“You sound like you really mean that,” Rory tests.

“Why wouldn’t I?” Paris answers evenly.

They stare at each other in tense, crackling silence.

The kitchen staff is starting to mumble nervously in the corner.

And then Rory sees it: a flicker of fiendishness in Paris’s eyes.

Or it might just be dust in the air or something, but at this point, Rory’s not in the mood to take any chances.

“If you ruin Jess’s proposal,” Rory explodes, “I swear I’ll make you sorry, Paris! I’ll steal all your whiteboards, and tell all the whiteboard salespeople around that you’re on the blacklist. You’ll never plan efficiently again!”

“Okay, you’re way out of line!” Paris hollers.

“Ooh, look, scones!” Sookie says, bustling over and shoving baked goods into Rory and Paris’s mouths with the swiftness that only a mother of multiple children can bust out. “They’re just—so much better than confrontation—”

“Dammit, that’s good,” Paris scowls through a mouthful of scone.

“It’s kinda hard to be mad while eating this,” Rory admits, reluctantly basking.

“My work here is done,” Sookie says, and returns to the stove.

Rory devotes the next minute to letting herself disappear into sconey heaven. No stress. No outside world. No impending Firelight Festival disaster. Just scones and Paris and a moment of peace.

Embracing the moment-of-peace thing is actually kind of nice. This scone is amazing, and it smells like coffee in here, and there’s wintery sunlight glinting through the window, catching in Paris’s hair and giving her this golden glow that seems somehow completely fitting.

And if Rory was going to listen to certain people, this is the human being who’s been in love with her—in love, in like, in something—for the past twelve years.

“What are you looking at?” Paris asks.

“Nothing,” Rory says. Moment of peace over.

“Listen,” Paris says once she’s done chewing. “The fact that you think that I care enough about Broody McHairGel to spend any time or energy on him insults me, Rory. All I’m planning on is kicking some serious Modern Stars Hollow Family ass and then putting all this crap behind us. Get ready to give the people the schmoopiest, most sickeningly romantic event in television history. We’ll make Will and Kate’s wedding look like an episode of Pawn Stars. The goal is to make Michele Bachman cry and barf at the same time while she’s watching—which we both know she will be—and I will settle for nothing less.”

“As always, I admire your vision,” says Rory.

“Which means that we’re not going to look like jackasses doing the Firelight Fairy Dance. Your moves need some serious work.”

“I am not that bad!”

“I’m so not the kind of person that says ‘oh honey,’ but oh honey.”

“Hey, you’re not exactly Britney!”

“Aren’t I, Rory? Aren’t I?”

Rory does have to admit that for a neurotic book nerd, Paris is abnormally gifted in the moves department.

“What can I say?” Paris shrugs. “Some people are naturally graced with the power of the dance; others try and fail until their psyches shatter . I’m Mila, you’re Natalie Portman.”

“Yes, please, compare our situation to Black Swan. That’s really going to bolster my enthusiasm.”

“I’m sorry. You’re not that bad. But I know how you like to be perfect in all you do. It’s what makes us drift compatible. So let’s make this hideous grown up Toddlers and Tiaras abomination of a dance number something worth giffing. In a good way,” Paris adds as a stern afterthought. “Not a ‘Jennifer Lawrence tripping up the stage’ way.”

“Didn’t people think that was adorable?” Rory points out.

Paris snorts. “If the best you can do is charm people with your inability to be a functioning adult human being, then are you really succeeding? You might as well be a kitten video on YouTube.”

Which is fair enough.

Paris really does seem to be in in-it-to-win-it mode, with nary a distraction allowed. It’s like last night never even happened. Like what Madeline and Louise said didn’t matter at all. Like any emotional freak-outs that may have ensued are now null and void.

“Do you swear you’re not planning to do anything to Jess and Alex?” Rory finds herself asking.

Paris rolls her eyes. “I swear. Let them get engaged and have their dream hipster nuptials where the guests all get to drink dandelion wine out of mason jars and eat tofu cake. (So not going if I’m invited, by the way.) All I’m focused on right now is finishing this thing and making conservatives barf-cry.”

“Well, good,” Rory says weakly. Then she reevaluates that statement. “Also, gross.”

“What can I say? This lifestyle isn’t for the dainty of stomach.”

“Or people who like the idea of holding onto their last shred of dignity.”

“Exactly.” Paris grips Rory’s shoulders. Rory thinks of Paris pulling her in for that Godfather kiss in the garage. “Everything I do tonight, I’m doing to make sure we end this thing as champions; screw everyone else. Remember that.”

“Okay, fine.” Rory shrugs her off. “Calm down, Cersei Lannister.”

“Well, who am I? Cersei or Littlefinger? Your Game of Thrones references are very inconsistent today.”

Logically, Rory gets that this isn’t the most scathing of criticisms.

Still, something in her just crumples.

“I know,” she whimpers—oh great, she’s a whimperer now. “I’m just so tired.”

Sookie clucks her tongue sympathetically from the stove. Meanwhile, Paris’s expression softens. She looks at Rory in a way that somehow gets past the billion layers of exhaustion and worry and unholy nervousness, and Rory’s heart goes calm. And then maybe skips a beat or two.

Paris tears her gaze away after a moment, then pours Rory a cup of coffee—also known as salvation—and holds it out to her.

Rory takes the cup gratefully, and their fingers meet.

Paris was pining for you hardcore from the second you showed up at Chilton.

Paris pulls away. “Remember,” she says brusquely. “If you fail today, you’re failing for two, Natalie. Get it together.”

Without further ado, she storms out of the kitchen.

Rory stares after her.

“Oh, honey,” Sookie says sympathetically.

Date: 2016-06-09 09:44 pm (UTC)
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
From: [personal profile] gwynnega
Hooray! I love this story.

Date: 2016-06-20 07:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Man, I leave LJ long enough to make ONE CROSS-COUNTRY MOVE and I miss a Best of It update!

The references throughout this were perfect, as usual. Imagining the opening boss bitches breakfast had me dying already, and it just got better from there. My favorite bit was definitely the whiteboard threat/scone resolution, though, omg. So glorious, so perfect. And Rory's ever dawning realization of just what her feelings are finally doing.

I can't wait to see what happens next!!

June 2016

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